Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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CHAPTER VIII
ST. CLEMENT TO ST. THOMAS
St. Clement's Day Quests and Processions—St. Catherine's Day as Spinsters' Festival —St. Andrew's Eve Auguries—The Klopfelnachte—St. Nicholas's Day, the Saint as Gift-bringer, and his Attendants—Election of the Boy Bishop—St. Nicholas's Day at Bari—St. Lucia's Day in Sweden, Sicily, and Central Europe—St. Thomas's Day as School Festival—Its Uncanny Eve—" Going a-Thomassin'."
St. Clement's Day.
The next folk-feast after Martinmas is St. Clement's Day, November 23, once reckoned the first day of winter in England.1 It marks apparently one of the stages in the progress of the winter feast towards its present solstitial date. In England some interesting popular customs existed on this day. In Staffordshire children used to go round to the village houses begging for gifts, with rhymes resembling in many ways the " souling" verses I have already quoted. Here is one of the Staffordshire " clemencing " songs :—
"Clemany! Clemany! Clemany mine! A good red apple and a pint of wine, Some of your mutton and some of your veal, If it is good, pray give me a deal ; If it is not, pray give me some salt. Butler, butler, fill your bowl ; If thou fill'st it of the best, The Lord'll send your soul to rest ; If thou fill'st it of the small, Down goes butler, bowl and all,
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